Parenting Schedules Are Not Always Traditional

The traditional most common parenting schedule is the alternate weekend from Friday after school until Sunday evening, one or two dinner visits during the week and alternating legal and religious holidays on an odd year basis. But that does not mean that your schedule must be the same. Whether there is joint custody or sole custody a schedule for visitation still needs to be resolved.

For the last several years I have had a steadily growing group of clients who want more or a different schedule. Clients may want overnight visits during the week, they may want the weekend to extend until Monday morning or to start Thursday after school and run until Sunday evening. They may want a schedule that is one way the first and third week and different the second and fourth week. Parents who do not have traditional 9 to 5, Monday through Friday jobs will want overnights during the week or to make sure that when they are off on a weekend that they have their weekend off with the children. This is a common problem for police officers, firemen and nurses who have rotating or late night schedules.

The key to working out a schedule will be to take into consideration the needs of the child and the parents. If the parents live near each other more possibilities are opened up because the proximity usually indicates less disruption to the child's schedule. Many children are involved in extra-curricular activities, consideration should be given to those events as long as they are not used to keep the child from having time with the other parent. If the child is not of a school age yet then many more possibilities exist.

Not all judges are in favor of overnight parenting during the school week. A compelling argument may be necessary if there is a lack of agreement. Transportation to and from school may be an issue. If the parents are respectful of each other much more flexibility will be negotiated. Parents who think that the children belong to them and use them as pawns will continue to have problems long after the divorce is finished.